If you’re like me, if you aren’t watching baseball, you’re watching Parks and Recreation episodes, making every effort to find ways to incorporate the wisdom of Ron Swanson into your everyday life.
Or at least gifs of Ron—here’s my personal fave:
Every so often, these worlds collide in a cacophony that is comparable only to a Mouse Rat concert, or perhaps the Pawnee/Eagleton Unity Concert—you pick. Well, it happened just now, in the form of song.
5000 Sac Bunts in the Wind
Down in southeast DC here’s the thing
You square to bunt and never swing
Come here with a hitting eye
Forget all that it’s time for the sacrifice
Bunt bunt Washington National
Outfield hits are way too casual
Bunt bunt Washington National
You’re 5000 sac bunts in the wind
It’s still a work in progress, but I think it has hit power. Expect it to quickly replace ‘Take On Me’ as the song sung during after the seventh inning stretch when it’s complete and become Bryce Harper’s new walk up song, replacing the other 73 he currently uses. It’s just a matter of time.
Although now that I think about it, Bryce is probably more of a Johnny Karate guy.
Despite a discouraging loss at the hands of the Friars of San Diego (more specifically, former Washington National and the only two-time Tommy John surgery survivor position player Xavier Nady), last night’s game was full of entertainment. Let’s have a GIF’ed up recap of some of the highlights.
First, the kid pulling out her tooth on LIVE TELEVISION:https://www.instagram.com/p/nMP41FDOx3
Christ on a bike. Moving on…
Second, the rare pitcher-to-field switch, this one featuring a finely mulleted Andrew Cashner. Let’s have a look at Cashner’s outfield patrolling prowess!
Morse-esque with the range and grace out there. Inspiring.
But it doesn’t end there! More LF shenanigans ahoy, courtesy of Tommy Medica!
Fucking majestic. Ibañez-ian.
To be fair, Medica is a first baseman making the switch to the outfield, but for now, let’s just revel in the derpy glory.
Fingers out and pointed everyone…
Tooth pulling courtesy of Tom Block.
Screen grabs courtesy of yours truly via the MASN broadcast.
Inspiration strikes us all in weird ways on occasion.
For some, it comes from a particular person of repute or venerability. Perhaps a scene or experience from nature can strike a chord and propel a person to artistic brilliance or encourage a more virtuous route in life to be taken.
How about Facebook?
Yes, Facebook. For me, a long sabbatical from my usual HDIB? posting routine was interrupted by a comment on the Book of Faces. The setting? A simple question: Should the Washington Nationals pursue free agent King of Aggro and occasional closer Grant Balfour and sign him to a deal. It’s an interesting premise and one that would have the Nats with little room left at the inn, so to speak, with the inn being the bullpen. With that in mind, it was also posited that a Balfour deal would be predicated upon a trade of fan favourite, Drew Storen.
As you can imagine, it was a question that inspired people to give their thoughts on the matter. Some thoughts were well formed, albeit emotional, others were poorly phrased, or just mean. Then there’s this one:
Yes, get him back here! Back here to close!
WHO THE FUCK IS MANNY?
Manny…Ramirez? Not a pitcher.
Manny…Acta? Had one inning as a pitcher in A ball, never a big leaguer, but was a former manager of the Nats. Getting warmer.
Manny…Machado? Not a pitcher, Nat, or currently retired.
Manny McMannyerson? Made that one up, so no, not him, either.
Oh! All time great and sure bet Hall of Famer Mannyano Rivera!
Nope, not Mariano Rivera, either. At least, I don’t think.
While the mind boggles as to which Manny should be brought back to man the helm of the Nats bullpen, it did give the ol’ grey matter a jump start. Who are the Mannyest of them all in MLB lore? Could we field a team of nothing but Mannys?
Off to FanGraphs I went — and wouldn’t you know it, there were a handful of Mannys who made it to the bigs. 21 to be exact — if that’s handful to you, you have enormous hands, that I oddly want to shake.
Yes! A team full of Mannys! How would that look? It would look a little something like so:
…and the PITCHERS:
The tables — with cutoffs at 50 IP for pitchers and 500 PA for hitters, sorted by career FanGraphs WAR — show us what Team Manny would shake down. Overall, the Manuels would have no issues putting bat to ball, but might be a little thin on pitching. Some superb players past and present clog the proverbial bases in the form of Mannys Sanguillen as well as the aforementioned Ramirez and Machado, with some leather wizardry being handled by Mannys Trillo and Alexander along with young phenom Machado.
Overall, not a bad showing by Team Manny — their average batting WAR of 13.6 would slot between the New York Yankees and Colorado Rockies in 2013 (good for 24th in MLB), while their average pitching WAR of 2.1 would best only the Houston Astros (1.6) in 2013.
Maybe they should sign Balfour to shore up their pitching.
I get a lot of questions on this blog.
Why are you still writing this crap?
Do bears eat beets?
Who is Doug Slaten?
…and of course – how do I baseball?
I do my best to answer these questions, mostly through nefarious statistical means, thanks to the likes of Baseball Reference, Fangraphs, and Baseball Prospectus. Yet, every so often, I get a question that goes beyond the abilities of those fantastic websites, and I am required to fall back on my education in science and medicine to get to the root of the matter, and provide my dear readers the answer they desire when they
google their question and inadvertently happen upon this blog ask me the tough questions.
The biggest question I’ve been getting thus far? One that haunts many a player from the Caribbean – how old REALLY is <name here>?
While you can find many instances of players from the Dominican and parts elsewhere to the south of the United States fibbing and whittling off a couple of years off of their actual age in an effort to be more attractive a prospect, in the hopes of getting a bigger signing bonus, one country does occasionally provide us their top-notch talent, along with some additional mystery shrouding the actualities of their biological age due to their political perspectives and the concomitant shrouding of their borders – Cuba.
The latest Cuban to wow the MLB? Yasiel Puig. The latest player to show up in my search history, due to people asking what his actual age was?
I’m a man of connections and curiosity; I shall use those powers of evil for good, and, with a little help from some medical expert friends of mine, answer this question.
HOW OLD IS YASIEL PUIG? NO REALLY, HOW OLD?
Ready? Let’s get some basics out of the way first…
Puig is a beast, but could stand to know how to ease those aches and pains, post outfield wall collisions. Let’s get him informed, yes?
PUIG IS PED FREE I DON’T EVEN…
OK, looks good. My fellow medical expert buddies, what do we have as a result for Mr. Puig?
Is he REALLY 22?
Well, there you have it. Expert opinion, expert analysis. Yasiel Puig is actually 19 years old. It’s a scientific and medical fact.
He’s been lying to us all along.
As you might have seen by now, the Toronto – Cleveland game yesterday was highlighted by a, shall we say, enthusiastic Jays fan, whose terrifying pleasure of grabbing a bat, courtesy of Indians’ infielder Jason Kipnis’ slip of the grip, has been making the rounds. For those link click averse, here’s our fella:
Of course! It’s Stuart – the Scottish patriarch of the McKenzie family from the cult classic movie, So I Married An Axe Murderer!
But you probably already knew that, ya smart arses….
There was big news in sabermetrics and overall baseball geekery today. I’ll let Rob Neyer fill us in:
Big news, most assuredly, and news that will forever affect how player value will be quantified.
Yet, with any new advanced metric, it needs a catchy name. Sure, it’s essentially Wins Above Replacement, but the new(ish) metric deserves a new coat of paint, so to speak.
We have the Mendoza Line already, thanks to Mario Mendoza, and his uncanny knack to be *just* not terrible enough batting average-wise to justify his playing time. Similar to what Mendoza did for batting average, the name for this new and comprehensive metric should reflect a player who truly epitomizes and embodies the concept of replacement level – a career WAR of 0.0.
Ladies and gentleman, with the help of Baseball Reference’s Play Index tool, I give you the man who is the true face of the replacement level player:
I will let you do your own research, but essentially, Cimoli’s 10 year career amounted to 0 rWAR; he amassed this dubious stat in 3358 plate appearances, the most of any player in history with a career 0 WAR.
As such, I feel that in the spirit of the Mendoza Line, the new WAR stat that will arise from the Baseball Reference/Fangraphs collaboration should be named in Cimoli’s honour. Now, barely adequate players can hold their heads high, knowing that they are playing above the Cimoli Line. Will Mike Trout be a 10 Cimoli player this year? In more ways than one, I am hoping so. Maybe now we can throw the phrase ‘WAR’ out of the baseball lexicon once and for all, and just call it Wins Above Cimoli.
At the least, a name change could quell all of the terrible WAR (What Is It Good For?) headlines. For that alone, the new metric has a promising future.
The baseball offseason is a time to work on things.
Add some muscle, fine tune that changeup, get surgery for that nagging injury, perhaps even get into the ever popular ‘best shape of your life’.
For some, these are all admirable goals to shoot for in their winter months away from the game.
Not for Danny Espinosa.
For Danny, the offseason is a time to work on his bearded Peter Griffin impersonation:
Lookin’ good, Danny.